The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Insurance and litigation specialist Kennedys spans the UK, Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific and the Middle East. The firm merged with US insurance firm Carroll McNulty & Kull in June last year. Kennedys also provides services for the aviation, employment, maritime and international trade industries, with a particular focus on dispute resolution.
The star performers
Aviation; Clinical negligence: defendant; Commercial property; Construction; Dispute resolution; Employment: employers and senior executives; Employment: employee/union firms; Health and safety; Insurance and reinsurance litigation; Personal injury: defendant; Professional negligence; Rail; Shipping
Assisting Stagecoach South Western Trains with the employment elements of its move out of the South West Trains Rail franchise including TUPE work and redundancy issues; acting for Protector Insurance, the property and liability insurer of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) and the RBKC Tenants Management Organisation (TMO), in relation to the Grenfell Tower tragedy; acted for AXA Insurance against Ted Baker in claims arising out of the theft of stock by an employee from its warehouse over a period of years; acting for British Airways and AIG on claims arising from the fire and evacuation of flight BA 2276 at Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport in 2015; represented Esure in a claim by an insurance customer for losses in connection with a motorcycle accident and consequent life-changing spinal cord injuries
Aer Lingus; British Cycling; Chubb; Etihad Airways; Great Western Rail; Hilton Hotels; JD Wetherspoon; Ryanair; Travelers; TUI group
Commercial litigation and insurance specialist Kennedys offers a ‘more focused’ training programme. Many recent recruits cited the firm’s ‘healthcare specialism’ as their motive for joining. The ‘upwardly mobile firm’ is ‘expanding internationally’ without compromising on offering its trainees ‘early responsibility’ and ‘good exposure to real work’. Kennedys ‘is not afraid to trust people who demonstrate capability’. This can occasionally lead to instances of having to ‘juggle too many deadlines’ and ‘feeling overwhelmed’. On the plus side, Kennedys has ‘excellent relationships with some huge clients’ and is ‘very often instructed on high-profile matters’ which means that the ‘work is always topical, current and varied’. The ‘lack of overseas placements’ was criticised, in particular ‘discovering that international secondments are not as common as expected’. In a similar vein, trainees noted that the firm ‘could be more joined up and inclusive’. Thankfully, however, there is generally a ‘healthy work/life balance’ and trainees are grateful that there is ‘no culture of staying late for the sake of it’, although it was noted that this varies between departments. Many cited attending trials as their best moments. Receiving feedback, both positive and negative, from ‘like-minded colleagues’ was also cited as a positive. Monthly staff drinks and free morning toast merit a mention; ‘it’s just quite nice and makes you feel looked after’ noted one trainee. If a firm with an ‘inclusive environment, a good variety of work, client contact and approachable partners’ sounds like a good match for you, consider Kennedys.
A day in the life of...
Alexandra Miller trainee, Kennedys Law LLP
Departments to date: Healthcare, aviation
University:University of Bristol
8.30am: I stroll in to the office and check my e-mails from the night before. I settle in and discuss this evening’s client event with my colleagues, with a brief detour in to the events of last night’s Love Island (much to the chagrin of my supervisor) and we peruse the guest list for tonight.
9.00am: A member of my team has organised a morning seminar with Baroness Elizabeth Sugg, who discusses the impact of Brexit on the aviation market. We listen to the talk, ask probing questions, and gorge ourselves on the breakfast fare Kennedys’ catering have kindly provided. I make sure I wait for the clients to approach the buffet first before taking some pastries and fresh fruit, however.
10.30am: I am working on a Civil Aviation Authority criminal prosecution in which we are defending a pilot. I take instruction from the associate who asks me to prepare a mitigation statement to provide to the magistrates. He provides clear guidance on how this should be drafted, given this is the first time I have undertaken such a task. I draft and re-draft the statement, making sure that I take ten minutes away from the screen to have a cup of tea, and review the document with fresh eyes.
12.30pm: Mitigation statement completed and sent off to the associate for review, I turn to my own caseload. In my department, I am the matter manager of my own cases, which is both exciting and challenging. I am currently dealing with a claim in which a passenger has been denied boarding in Cape Town due to visa restrictions, so I research the necessary visa requirements and discuss liability with my supervisor. I draft a letter denying liability and setting out the law clearly to the passenger.
1.30pm: It is a beautiful day in the City, so a group of trainees gather in the courtyard by our office to sit in the sun. We talk about the upcoming trainee social and our aspirations for our next seats.
2.00pm: I return to my desk and have a meeting with a partner regarding a high-value hull damage claim. Following the meeting, I review the contract between the airline and the ground handling company to determine whether the airline could seek an indemnity for the damage and prepare an attendance note for the partner to consider.
3.00pm: A partner has asked me to research coverage, specifically, whether pre-contractual documents can be relied upon once a claim is made. I make full use of Westlaw, Lexis Nexis and PLC and draft a research note for review.
4.00pm: I have a meeting with an associate and a partner in another team who shares an interest in drones. We are writing an article on drone regulation in the UK for which I have written the first draft. We meet to discuss what amendments should be made and when it will be published.
4.30pm: I make myself a cup of tea and, as my colleagues and I are avid (and sometimes competitive) bakers, sample some of the cake from our treat station in the office. A partner from Singapore has brought over fish skins, which are surprisingly moreish.
4.40pm: I take a call from a claimant’s solicitors and we have a without prejudice conversation regarding the claim. We agree that settlement at this stage is a prudent option as it will save time and funds. I then draft a release and an increased offer letter for his client to sign and return.
5.30pm: There has been a total loss plane crash in Cuba for which I compile a press coverage report for the partner handling the matter, who is currently at the fore in Cuba.
About the firm
Address:25 Fenchurch Avenue, London, EC3M 5AD
Telephone: 020 7667 9667
Fax:020 7667 9777
Senior partner: Nick Thomas
Other offices: Belfast, Birmingham, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Sheffield, Taunton, Auckland, Bangkok, Bogota, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Dubai, Dublin, Hamilton, Hong Kong, Lima, Lisbon, Madrid, Melbourne, Mexico City, Miami, Moscow, Paris, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Sydney, Basking Ridge, New York, Austin, Philadelphia and Chicago.
Who we are: Kennedys is a global law firm with unrivalled expertise in the insurance/reinsurance and liability industries. With over 1,700 people worldwide across 32 offices, we have some of the most respected legal minds in their fields.
What we do: Kennedys’ lawyers provide a range of specialist legal services for many industries including: insurance and reinsurance, healthcare, construction, transport, maritime and international trade, rail and aviation. There is also a particular focus on dispute resolution and litigation.
What we are looking for: As Kennedys has a vibrant and supportive working environment, we’re looking for sociable and enthusiastic team players with commercial awareness. Minimum required degree grade: 2(1). Minimum UCAS points or A Levels: 300 UCAS points or equivalent.
What you'll do:During your training contract, you’ll complete four six-month seats across our core practice areas of insurance and reinsurance, liability, healthcare and commercial. We also offer exciting client and international secondment opportunities. In addition, you’ll be given the opportunity to attend in-house and external seminars, while having access to a large array of online training through our internal systems.
Perks: Life insurance, income protection, employee assistance programme, pension, private medical insurance, season ticket loan, child care schemes, gym membership, gym subsidy, eye care vouchers, corporate GP, 25 days’ holiday – increasing to 27 after five years.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 271
Other fee-earners: 958
Total trainees: 42
Trainee places available for 2021: 20
Applications received pa: 900
Percentage interviewed: Approx 50% asked to complete video interview
First year: £36,000 London, £26,000 regional, £19,000 Scotland
Second year: £38,000 London, £29,000 regional, £22,000 Scotland
Newly qualified: Varied
Apply to: Ben Gilbey, HR advisor – trainees and apprentices.
When to apply:2021 training contract applications are open from 1 May to 31 December 2019.
What's involved:Application form, video interview, critical thinking test, assessment day including a group task, written task and interview.
Winter: January 2019 (apply by 30 September 2018).